#knowledgecorner How social media can be used to win new business
New business is the lifeblood of any company – especially those in the service sector like us. But, acquiring new customers is becoming increasingly complex – customer needs are demanding and varied; competition is fierce and diverse, and businesses of all sizes and sectors have been forced to evolve and adapt to a rapidly-shifting digital business landscape. Our very own Business Development Director Gavin and Marketing Manager Hannah share their thoughts on winning new business with social media…
“Relationships have always been at the core of business development; and now, in 2015, it’s no secret that social media is an important part of any marketing and business development strategy, explains Gavin. It has opened up new possibilities and opportunities for individuals and businesses alike to grow their brand presence online. It allows companies to share useful information with target customers to help distinguish them from their competitors. It can accelerate the relationship-building process, and enhance the way we communicate with potential customers, leading to quicker connections and serving as a research tool when looking to establish relationships”.
Here are some practical ways you can use social media in your quest for new business acquisition:
1. Social networking with a purpose
The key to social networking efficiently and successfully, is not about chasing any bit of business – which many companies do in their desperation to generate leads – but to be very focused on exactly the type of work you want to win and therefore who you need to talk to in order to win it. “The ‘who’ is important, as that is what social media enables you to do – target and talk to real prospects, which leads us nicely to the next step – understanding your customers”, says Hannah.
2. Understand your customers
“Think about who your customers are, think about everything you know about them: where they live, what their lifestyles are, what their interests are, business wise and outside of business, and that’ll give you big clues as to the social networks they’re likely to be using”, says our Business Development Director, Gavin.
“You then need to think about how this is going to translate into sales and development for your business”, continues Gavin. Once a target has been identified, analysing social media data can then be used to get a fuller understanding of the person or brand. From Linkedin to Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram, you have a variety of platforms to explore and leverage.
3. Use employee connections to your advantage
If you’re using Linkedin and want to connect with someone at a certain company, always check to see if anyone at your company has a connection or pre-established relationship with that person. “Social media channels like Linkedin make it very easy to see mutual connections”, adds Gavin. “You could ask your colleague to make an introduction which is an automatic foot-in-the-door in the game of business development!”
4. Competitive intelligence
Social media analytics can show you which competitors are earning the most engagement from your target audience – and what type of engagement around which type of content. “Understanding the strengths and weaknesses, and the successes and failures, of a competitor’s social activity can become a catalyst to identifying a unique creative idea to help you target and win the attention of your target customers”, adds our marketing manager Hannah.
5. Adjust your messaging for different networks
Hannah emphasises, “Every social network has a different audience and purpose – what works for one may not work for another and the way people behave and connect across channels varies”. For example – Linkedin is a more formal, professional networking tool. Twitter is more informal and conversational. Therefore, your approach needs to be slightly different when connecting and building relationships with people on different platforms. Use Twitter to promote ongoing building relationships with people on different platforms. Use Twitter to promote ongoing marketing campaigns, share your blog content and answer customer support queries. Use Linkedin to showcase your personal credibility, company culture and resources. “Obviously, there’s no universal, one-size-fits-all guide to social media – so be flexible!” advises Hannah.
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